Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone Maps

One of the six natural hazards required by the Natural Hazards Disclosure Act in California is Very High Fire. This has led to the creation of the Fire Hazard Severity Zone (FHSZ) maps by the Calfire (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. These are update periodically and based on:

  • The predominant type of vegetation, which may be provide fuel for a fire
  • Severity of slopes, as properties on steep slopes has a higher risk of catching fire
  • Fire history, as past fires can mean future ones
  • Weather patterns, as areas with high temperature, low humidity, and high winds can make fires worse

These factors combine to create a model depicting areas that are at risk for wildfire. According to the website of DisclosureSave, LLC, it is mandatory for home sellers or their agents to check these maps to fill out the standardized Natural Hazard Disclosure (NHD) Statement that they will give to potential homeowners.

A property designated as being in a High Fire zone in the FHSZ maps does not necessarily mean that it will burn. However, the risks are greater for such properties, which is why California law requires property owners to disclose these risks to potential buyers.

Anyone can access the FHSZ maps, but since the areas can be quite large, not all specific cities have detailed enough maps to be of use, or serviced by local fire departments. Home sellers who are unable to find their specific property on FHSZ maps are compelled t check the “yes” box for High Fire and Wildfire sections.

This can have a significant impact on the selling potential of any property as people are understandably reluctant to purchase property that may burn to the ground. Even if they are able to get insurance, the premiums are bound to be higher.

If you are planning to sell your home, filling up the NHD statement can be time-consuming. There are natural hazard disclosure companies that can help you with this by providing the reports you need quickly and at very reasonable rates. You will also get other pertinent local advisories such as Megan’s Law and Carbon Monoxide Notice.

The Aftermath of Birth Injury

Dealing with a birth injury can be one of the most difficult ordeals anyone has to go through. For the child born with birth injury, they are made to live with that injury or defect for the rest of their natural lives. A lot of the consequences of birth injury involve physical disability such as limited movement to absolute paralysis. Such a defect could have immense psychological backlash on the victim in the years to come.

The consequences of birth injury are numerous. As a subset of medical malpractice, a medical practitioner can easily lose his or her license over such a case. Not to mention the monetary compensation that is required due to the medical bills and medication that is necessary for the rest of the victims’ lives. There is also the loss of income and punitive charges to account for. And those are only some of the monetary fees that need to be dealt with in a case such as this.

Going through a traumatic, medical tragedy such as birth injury is a complicated time enough as it is without worrying about the legal aspect of it. According to the website of the Ausband Law Firm, a lot of victims of birth injury are understandably shaken and angered by the event. This can be attributed to the trauma and stress that legal cases like this can cause for they are quite complicated procedures.

The legal attorneys then recommended for cases such as this are ones who are confident in their law field of practice as well as strong, with regard to their knowledge of medical know how and the given medical case. They need to be as familiar, if not more familiar, with the procedures, complications, medications, consequences as even the doctors themselves. They need to be well resourced for objective, third-party opinions of experts within the field who can justify certain claims in order to validate the claim of birth injury. Sufficient knowledge is paramount to such a case in order for the legal team to be able to properly defend the party in question.

If you or a loved one has suffered because of birth injury, legal action is advisable.

Locked Up over Spring Break

Fort Walton Beach is a popular destination for college students intent of making the most of their spring break. With thousands of young people flocking to the Florida Coast, it is inevitable that some may let impulse get the better of them and end up arrested for a variety of crimes. When in Florida, all visitors are subject to state laws, as many out-of-towners find out with dismay every summer.

2014 was no different. Almost a thousand spring breakers were arrested for underage drinking or drug use, nearly 600 from Walton county alone, and they were not merely given citations, either, as law enforcers had done in the past. With the serious and fatal drunk driving incidents clouding the brow of Florida’s law enforcers, they exerted a zero-tolerance policy in order to keep the young people off the streets and safe—in jail.

While the aim of this policy is admirable, the consequences for these young people can be serious and life-changing in a myriad of ways. Many are just embarking on college life or on the brink of graduation, and criminal charges could mean loss of scholarships, expulsion, and lost employment opportunities. It is even more onerous because many of those arrested are on their own in Florida, with families and friends in other states unable to come to provide advice and support.

It is important that these out-of-town spring breakers understand the fix they are in when they get arrested for drug or alcohol-related offenses, which are felonies in certain circumstances in Florida. They need to understand that they should make no moves until they have retained a competent Fort Walton Beach criminal defense lawyer to represent them the minute they are charged with a crime. While the police may not be out to spoil the party, they do have an obligation to use anything you do or say against you in a court of law.

If you find yourself arrested outside your home state, it is crucial that you retain legal representation from the state you are arrested in. Local laws apply, so if you get arrested in Florida, retaining an attorney from New York will not be your best option.

Determing Case Values and Fault

The chances of going to court for a car accident claim may depend on whether you and the defendant have reached an agreement regarding the amount of compensation for the damages. In order to have a fair settlement and determine the value of the car accident, a number of factors should be considered: general damages, special damages, risk and extent of injury, and trail costs.

Determining the case value of a personal injury case can be difficult, especially since both parties tend to disagree on the amount of settlement on the unquantifiable injuries of the victim. In order to find out the case value of a personal injury claim, the Abel Law Firm explains on its website that general damages are first computed by the defendant’s (person at-fault) lawyers or insurance company using a specific formula. The numbers used in computing the damages will depend on whether injuries that the plaintiff suffered are relatively minor or severe. Because some states have caps on damages the plaintiff may receive, it is important to know how much the state could award.

Another factor to look into when determining the case value is the type of “fault law” the state follows. If the state follows the modified comparative law, then even if the plaintiff contributed to the accident they can still be awarded compensation, albeit deducted with equal percent of fault they contributed to the accident and provided that the fault is determine to be less than 50 percent. In cases where a state follows the contributory fault law, no compensation will be given if it has been determined by court that you have contributed to the accident, regardless of the extent of your injury.

Consider the risk that comes with going to trial. Most personal injury claims are settled outside of court or even before they reach trail because it would save both parties time and money. It is important to consider the settlement amount that the defendant offers, especially if it means you it can save time, effort and money to both parties. In order to reach an agreement, the best option is through mediation. Having a neutral third party who will preside over the whole process can make the negotiations faster and easier.

Saving Your Credit Rating from a Negative Mark through Short Sale

A short sale is one form of agreement involving sale of real estate, which, today, is recognized as probably the best solution to save those who are months behind mortgage payment from getting their property or house foreclosed. A short sale agreement involves the lender (which is typically a bank) and the loaner. To avoid foreclosure and incur a negative credit rating, the loaner would arrange with his/her loan provider to accept payment, but which is lower than the total remaining balance on the mortgage. The amount to be paid will come from the net proceeds of the mortgaged property that will be put up for sale.

The practice of short sale or pre-foreclosure sale started to gain ground in 2008 due to the subprime mortgage (delinquency) crisis. Since then, more than two million U.S. residents have resorted to this real estate deal to avoid foreclosure.

In a short sale, loaners, who choose to sell their property, cannot expect any profit, while lenders cannot expect to have the total mortgage balance paid to them; despite this, the deal is still clearly beneficial both. Not only to both, however, for the deal is also beneficial to the buyer of the property, who will be able to make the purchase at a reduced cost (so long as the property is in good order and condition, otherwise, the buyer will only have headaches in making repairs and suffer additional, unforeseen costs).

There are many other effects (positive or negative, depending on who is affected) that a short sale provides, including:

  • Relief of loaners from the lengthy process involved in foreclosure, as well as less impact on their credit
  • Release of the loaners from any obligation to still pay what remains in the loan after mortgagee receives the net amount from the sold property (loaners, though, must make sure that this is clearly stipulated in their agreement with the lender)
  • Freedom of lender from long and costly foreclosure procedures, as well as from incurring costs required in maintaining foreclosed property
  • Task of selling the property will be with the loaner and not with the lender
  • Issue of making loaners leave the property is no longer a burden as loaners are expected to vacate their property voluntarily

In the event that you are planning or would plan to put up your property for short sale, it will really be wise to consult a Birmingham bankruptcy lawyer first so that you will have a full and further understanding of what this choice will bring you. An attorney will be able to compassionately guide you through your case. Just make sure that you choose your lawyer well, as some are definitely much better than others.

Understanding the Victim’s Survivor’s Right in Cases of Wrongful Death

Everyone ought to bear in mind that his/her actions will always affects others, whether directly or indirectly. This explains the need for proper actions and concern for the safety of others at all times. However, other people’s interests aren’t in the minds of everyone.

Yet, no matter how careful one is, there is always someone whose thoughts are centered only to him/her self, being mindless of other’s situations and circumstances. This attitude is what always leads to accidents or causes injuries. Some of the types of accidents that have occurred due to this kind of attitude are motor vehicle accidents, product defects/ liabilities, job-related accidents, dental or medical errors and slip and fall accidents. Injures due to someone else’s negligence should never be tolerated.

There are instances, however, when the injury is too severe, so that the victim is not able to handle the pain or severity of the injury; this is when wrongful death occurs. Any act that causes injury or death, so long as it is due to one’s negligence, carelessness or recklessness, is considered as a civil offense or a tortious act. In the legal sense, the person / firm (legally called the tortfeasor) responsible for the injury is required by law to pay compensation to the victim (or the victim’s family) which will cover all the damages (such as cost of medical treatment and loss of earning) he / she has and will suffer.

In cases where the victim has died, any of his/her survivors, called real parties in interest, may act as a representative on his or her behalf and file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit against the liable party. The word survivors may refer to: immediate family members, like spouse, children or adopted children or parents if victim is unmarried; and, distant family members, like brother and sister grandparent; financial dependents, life partner or putative spouse.

Knowing and understanding what your rights are is highly important in the event of the wrongful death of a loved one. A lawyer whose expertise covers personal injury laws will definitely be a great help to you and your family.

Dog Bites

Each year, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs, and 800,000 of these bites require medical attention. Unfortunately, man’s best friend isn’t always every man’s best friend, which, according to  is why certain states have dog-bite statutes in order to protect both owners and victims in the case of injury.

Under the “one-bite” rule, a dog’s owner is held liable for injuries only if they knew the dog was likely to cause an injury. For example, if a dog snaps or growls at people, or has bitten before even if they showed no previous signs of aggression, then the owner has reason to know that the dog is likely to cause injury. These owners must take certain action in order to prevent foreseeable danger. Many states only have statute that cover dog bites, so common law is used in other cases such as injuries caused by a dog acting playfully.

If you are injured or bit by a dog, there are certain steps that you should take in order to protect your health and interests in the event of a court case. These steps include:

  • Getting immediate medical attention if needed
  • Getting the name and phone number of the dog’s owner
  • Getting any witnesses’ names and numbers
  • Reporting the incident to animal control (especially if you don’t know who owns the dog)

Dog owners can be held liable for a dog bite injury if the owner knew that their dog had a tendency to cause injury, if a state’s dog bite statute makes the owner liable, or if the injury was caused by the owner’s unreasonable carelessness. For example, if someone leaves their dog in the back yard and fails to close the gate, leading to the dog escaping and biting a neighbor, then the owner is held liable because they negligently left the gate open. However, a dog owner can escape liability if the person injured provoked the attack, or knowingly put themselves at risk of being bit.

Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrian fatalities totaled 4,432 in 2011, and about 70,000 pedestrians were injured in 2010. Pedestrians are actually 1 ½ times more likely to be killed in an accident than passenger vehicle occupants. However, there are actions that both drivers and pedestrians can take in order to help decrease these numbers. The common causes of pedestrian accidents include:

  • Drivers failing to stop at stop lights or signs
  • Distracted driving (texting, eating, adjusting radio)
  • Failure to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks
  • Not checking for pedestrians prior to making turns
  • Driving under the influence
  • Speeding

Fortunately, there are things that pedestrians can do in order to decrease their likelihood of being involved in an accident. These things include crossing a street at a designated crosswalk, increasing their visibility at night, and walking facing traffic if walking on a sidewalk is not an option. If at all possible, it’s best to avoid walking on really busy streets, especially if they are places where people go to drink. People often assume that if the police did not issue the driver a ticket, then the driver was not at fault for hitting a pedestrian. However, it is a motor vehicle driver’s duty to pay attention to the road. If witnesses or evidence show that the driver had a clear line of site and sufficient time to avoid hitting a pedestrian, then they are likely at fault for the accident even if they were not ticketed. It may be difficult to pursue a pedestrian accident case if there is a lack of appropriate evidence or insurance, which is why it is important to contact a Massachusetts personal injury attorney who can look into the facts and fight for your best interest. If you or a loved one was involved in a pedestrian accident, then you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

You trust nursing home facilities to take care of your aging loved ones, so it can be devastating when they fail to do so. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is one of the most underreported forms of abuse, with only 1 in 14 incidents being reported to authorities. The best way to reduce this number is to become aware of the signs of nursing home abuse, and report it when you see them.

Factors leading to nursing home injuries include lack of proper supervision, training, or staffing, and failure to follow proper medical procedures. No matter the excuse, nursing home abuse or neglect is unacceptable. Unfortunately, 90% of nursing homes are understaffed, which means that regular monitoring of residents can fall flat. Without regular monitoring, injuries can become more severe. For example, slip and falls are the most common types of injuries among the elderly and are dangerous because of the increased likelihood of bone breaks or fractures. If residents are not properly observed, then they are far more likely to experience additional trauma if they were left unattended for too long after a fall.

Not all warning signs of nursing home abuse are as obvious as others, but they all require further investigation and medical attention. Warning signs of nursing home abuse include:

  • Unusual cuts or bruising
  • Bed sores and poorly treated infections
  • Poor hygiene
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Withdrawal
  • Disappearance of personal items

Cuts, bruises, and infections are far slower to heal in elderly patients, so they require immediate medical attention and should not be ignored by family members or nursing home staff. If you notice any of these red flags, you should begin by notifying nursing home management. If management chooses not to address your concerns, then it is important to contact an Orange County Lawyer and take legal action to protect your loved ones and prevent further abuse. Your case can make an example of the nursing home, thereby helping other people who are enduring this kind of unseemly abuse.

What is Wrongful Death?

If someone dies due to the negligence or fault of a third party, such as another person or manufacturer, their survivors can sue for wrongful death. A wrongful death lawsuit typically seeks compensation for funeral expenses, survivors’ loss, and lost wages of the deceased. According to the website of the Ausband Law Firm, a wrongful death claim is filed by a representative of the survivors, or “real parties in interest.” These people may be immediate family members, life partners, financial dependents, distant family members, and even parents of a deceased child.

A recent example of a wrongful death case is that of a New Jersey family. A 30-year old man was working at a Manhattan construction site when a crane collapsed and took his life. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that the crane owner, Yonkers Contracting, had not performed required inspections of the aging crane. The cable holding up the crane was frayed before it collapsed, meaning the accident was preventable. Despite legal findings, Yonkers Contracting admitted no wrongdoing, but the case was settled for $1 million, all of which went to the surviving family.

Wrongful death claims involve many types of fatal accidents from car accidents to medical malpractice, meaning that a wrongful death action can be taken against a variety of defendants. These defendants can include, but are not limited to:

  • Driver at fault in an auto accident
  • Manufacturer or distributor of a faulty product
  • Owner of the premises where the accident took place
  • Person who sold or served alcohol to an impaired driver
  • Designer or builder of faulty roadway

Wrongful death can be devastating for survivors, and no one should have to lose a loved one due to the negligence of another person or company. However, there is legal action you can take in order to receive compensation for your loss. Of course, money can’t bring a loved one back from the dead, but it can help smooth this painful transition and the complications that may arise as a result of the loss of a loved one.

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